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El Calafate

Travel Guide South America Argentina El Calafate

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Introduction

Icebergs - what colours

Icebergs - what colours

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El Calafate is a small town in Patagonia, in the southwest of the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina. It borders Lago Argentino and the town has seen a significant growth in tourism during the last decade or so, with an increasing number of inhabitants as a result. It's the gateway to numerous natural attractions, like the fantastic Perito Moreno Glacier. It's location betweeen El Chaltén and Torres del Paine National Park (Chile) makes it an inevitable stop for those in transit

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Sights and Activities

Monte Fitz Roy

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Monte Fitz Roy (Cerro Fitz Roy) lies on the border of Chile and Argentina in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Francisco Moreno named the mountain in his book Viaje a la Patagonia Austral in honour of Robert FitzRoy, the captain of HMS Beagle, who sailed up the Santa Cruz River in 1834 and surveyed large parts of the Patagonian coast. The mountain is also sometimes known as Cerro Chaltén, which means smoking mountain, because of the clouds that often form around the peak.

The first recorded climb was achived by French duo Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone. Despite the average height of the mountain, it is listed as one of the most technical climbs in the world because of the almost vertical granite faces. There are years that not a single successful ascent was recorded due to the extremely difficult climb.

Perito Moreno Glacier

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© All Rights Reserved The VBs

The Perito Moreno Glacier is located about 80 kilometres from El Calafate, also the Parque Nacional de los Glaciares. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in Argentinian Patagonia. It is about 30 kilometres in length, and one of only a few glaciers that is not retreating.

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Getting There

By Plane

Comandante Armando Tola International Airport (FTE), which is located 21 kilometres from El Calafte offer some flights. Aerolineas Argentinas flies to/from Buenos Aires, Trelew and Ushuaia.
LADE has flights to and from Bariloche, Buenos Aires, Comodoro Rivadavia, Mar del Plata, Puerto Madryn, Esquel, Rio Grande, Rio Gallegos and Ushuaia.
Finally, LAN Argentina flies to Buenos Aires and Ushuaia as well.

By Bus

Buses go regularly to El Chalten (3,5 hours), Puerto Natales (5 hours) and Rio Gallegos (4 hours). For Bariloche and Ushuaia, change in Rio Gallegos. Chalten Travel offers more connections during the summermonths (October - April) to El Chalten and Perito Moreno, with onward connections to Bariloche (2 days!).

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Albergue & Hostal del Glaciar - HILos Pioneros 251Hostel82
Albergue Buenos AiresC/ Buenos Aires 296Hostel74
America del Sur HostelCalle Puerto Deseado S/NHostel91
Aonikenk Bed & BreakfastAv. Padre Agostini 27.guesthouse83
Calafate HostelGobernador Moyano 1226Hostel80
Casa de los Grillos B&BLas Bandurrias str. - n/nhostel92
Cauquenes de NimezCalle 303 n 79Guesthouse83
Che Lagarto Hostels CalafateCalle 25 de Mayo N°311Hostel79
Hospedaje LautaroEspora 237Hotel88
Hostel de las ManosEgidio Feruglio S/Nhostel78
Hostel del Glaciar LibertadorAv. Libertador 587hostel-
Hosteria AustralSan Juan Bosco 917Guesthouse81
Hostería Puerto San JulianPto San Julian 310Hotel-
Hosteria SchillingGobernador Paradelo 141hotel-
Hosteria Sir ThomasComandante Espora 257hostel84
I Keu Ken HostelF.M Pontoriero 171 - El CalafateHostel-
Lago Argentino HostelC. del Desierto 1061hostel-
Las CabanitasValenting Feilberg 218Guesthouse82
Marcopolo Inn CalafateCalle 405 Nº 82Hostel74
Marcopolo Suites CalafateAv. Jorge Newbery 439Hostel86
Posada Patagonica Nakel YenúPto. San Julian 244Hostel86
Xelena Deluxe Suites HotelDR. Rene Favaloro 3500 El Calafate, Santa CruzHotel-
Hosteria MeulenCalle 202 Frente a Laguna NimezHOTEL-
Pioneros HostelLos Pioneros 255HOSTEL84
Hostal Patagonico AmancayGobernador Gregores 1457Guesthouse-
El PuenteAv.Del Libertador 647Apartment-
Posada del Angel CalafateCalle Madre Teresa Calcuta 909GUESTHOUSE79
Hostel International PointAvenida Peron 1016HOSTEL-
Hosteria Las AvutardasAv. del Libertador 1737Hotel84
MyHotelCalle 25 de Mayo 311 Santa CruzGuesthouse-
Hosteria Sir Thomas El CalafateComandante Espora 257 El CalafateHOTEL-
Los GnomosChichin Ariztizabal 157HOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are still widely available in most places, even in smaller towns, though many people are connected through the internet at home or by mobile device. Many cafes and restaurants offer free WiFi with an advertisement in their windows. All you need to do is buy something and ask for the password. Apart from specific places, including soms airports and major stations, quite a few cities are offering free wifi, including Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Iguazu Falls.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Argentina is 54. To make an international call from Argentina, dial 00 followed by the country code and the rest of the telephone number. All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers, except if you call from a mobile phone. Emergency numbers are available for Police (101), Ambulance (107) and Fire (100). Emergency dispatcher for Buenos Aires (city), Santa Fe (city), Rosario (city), Salta (province), Corrientes (province), and Buenos Aires (province) 911. In a mobile phone 112 forwards to 911.

You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about 20 Pesos for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked American or European mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinean phone numbers. Calls cost around 1 Peso per minute. Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.

Without a cellphone, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called locutorios, where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to Europe will cost about 10 Pesos. Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive.

Post

Correos de Argentina is the national postal service of Argentina. There are also two private carriers operating nationwide (OCA and Andreani) and a number of regional ones though Correos de Argentina will be the one most likely to be used by travellers. Post offices are mostly open between 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, though there are regional variantions with longer hours in central post offices in big cities and shorter ones in small towns. Services are pretty reliable but slow, mostly taking about two weeks to deliver a postcard or letter to the USA or Europe, but usually within a few days sending it domestically. There is also a more expensive express options. You can track a package online at the Correos de Argentino website. Parcels take at least 3-5 days domestically and weeks internationally. Otherwise try international companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS to send parcels. It is probably more reliable as well as faster.

Quick Facts

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Population
11,000
Coordinates
  • Latitude: -50.3402146
  • Longitude: -72.2705082

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This is version 15. Last edited at 8:09 on Feb 7, 14 by Utrecht. 11 articles link to this page.

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